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Are we too elitist & doing 99% of newbies a disservice?

Are good at helping enough newbie buyers?


  • Total voters
    97

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
4,080
PS does have an app, but it's for price data...

Screenshot_20191206-144222_One UI Home.jpg

Screenshot_20191206-144231_PriceScope.jpg

Screenshot_20191206-144236_PriceScope.jpg

I agree it would be nice to have an app for the forum. Even if it's not a PS specific app, making the forum play friendly with an app like Tapatalk would be great. Several other forums I visit are on Tapatalk and it's pretty user friendly.

Screenshot_20191206-144435_Google Play Store.jpg
 

Bluery

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 30, 2014
Messages
42
I think in addition to forums being somewhat passé, diamonds are falling out of popularity a little bit too. I mean many of us still love them, clearly, but often, engagement rings are the only diamond many people will ever buy, and not everyone gets married anymore. Also, many people specifically *don’t* want an earth mined diamond for an engagement ring, for myriad reasons. Heck, Emma Stone is worth millions of dollars and just got engaged with a pearl.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,359
I think in addition to forums being somewhat passé, diamonds are falling out of popularity a little bit too. I mean many of us still love them, clearly, but often, engagement rings are the only diamond many people will ever buy, and not everyone gets married anymore. Also, many people specifically *don’t* want an earth mined diamond for an engagement ring, for myriad reasons. Heck, Emma Stone is worth millions of dollars and just got engaged with a pearl.
Yep. My bff just got engaged with a sterling silver ring with a small moonstone.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,237
My only fear with using vendor dollars to fund this site is the potential for freedom of speech to be impaired.

I've seen it happen before elsewhere. Vendor A pays $X to the forum. All is great if the mods and users push that product. But if someone has a bad experience and says something negative, they get a warning and/or ban for it. Then another user or two gets irritated and questions that and they too get banned. Next thing you know, a large group breaks off and creates a new (competing) forum.

I get it -- the forum is trying to support the vendor that paid money to support the forum. But the harsh reality is that sometimes vendors do stuff or have products that suck and they (and others) need to hear it.

Not to pick on anyone, but how do you think JA would feel if they paid money to sponsor this site? I utilize them because they get picked on for their TH line that is't always true to the name. Or prior to them blocking certs, basically selling the same virtual inventory stones available elsewhere except at higher costs. Or most recently, their decision to block certs and the rumblings that came as a result so they could basically sell the same stones available elsewhere at other sites for higher prices, but without any proof it was the same stone, lol.

If the forum is taking their dollars, does that mean they will start censoring/banning users when the user opinion turns against the vendor? Will the vendor cease their support?

There are also benefits. I love the fact that WF, HPD, VC, JA and others contribute here. I think having that vendor/trade adds value to the site as a whole.

How cool would it be to see this forum work together with some of these vendors to do studies and tests on various subjects. For instance, the topic of fluor is what spawned this entire thread. There are some strong opinions on both sides, and it would be interesting to see a study with several vendors, maybe a few prosumers and some outside GIA/AGS people.

I think there is a way to network and grow the vendor relationships here, while possibly getting some monetary support. But it has to be done right. I think a simple thing that could happen is make trades pay for their membership. Maybe even have different tiers. And at a certain tier, a sub-forum could be created for that vendor so they could freely discuss their products, special pricing, group buys, etc.

Then vendors could start to see any direct relationships to PS and sales. Also, it may entice more people to sign up and participate.
Sledge, I am really puzzled by your post. It appears you don't know that there are vendor sponsors of this site. They pay to be listed and advertise here. Some of them have stones listed in the diamond search, and they can tell when a stone is puchased through that link. It's been that way from the start, as far as I know. I know it has since I joined in 2006. I can assure you freedom of speech has not been impaired. If someone complains about a sponsoring vendor, they certainly are not banned from the forum. Here are the forum sponsors, FYI:

 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
4,080
Sorry, didn't mean to confuse anyone.

In the case with the search engine, PS only receives dollars if a stone is recommended and the buyer utilizes the link with affiliate ID, correct?

And with advertising, I'm not sure if the ads like I see at the bottom of this page is being paid by IDJ and JA to have those images there, or if PS includes the ads and then PS collects money when users click on them. I'm anticipating the latter.

Capture-ads.PNG

The difference in what I was referring to earlier is the other forums bring in sponsors and make them pay FIXED money for memberships and to participate in the forums, and also post ads similar to the above. Essentially the sponsors were paying to be part of the community instead of using "click bait" to generate dollars, so it was frowned on when things didn't play in their favor.

I agree it seems different here. I've not been censored or banned for speaking my opinions.

Hell, I've probably cost this forum alot of money truthfully. I was calculating up some of the stones I have recommended and helped people purchase and it was a very large chunk of change last I counted. I'm not sure what percentage the forum would get back from those sales, but I know maybe 1% or less of that time I used PS search engine links, or other affiliate links. Most the time I get the links directly from the vendor/sponsor and many times recommend them to call vs doing it on the web.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
55,237
@sledge Obviously I don't know all the inner workings of PS, but I do think sponsors pay fees for being a sponsor and/or advertising. People may click links on the stone search page, but the ads, I think, are paid ads or else included in the fees they pay to be sponsors. Don't worry, I am quite confident that the stone search links are not the primary income source for PS. Some of us have been participating on RT for many years, and never has there been any push for us to link stones from the search page. I am sure there are many people who never make a post who use that search on their own. I have no idea what other forums you are speaking of, but don't assume they operate the same way.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
27,260
I've been here since 2003 or so.

Never have I ever gotten any feedback from PS regarding my posts about vendors that smacked of preferential treatment of their paying advertisers.
Never.
I have both praised some vendors and pointed out unethical behavior of one or two without fear of retribution.
I have been banned for posts regarding one vendor, but only when I crossed the line that violated PS terms.
My bad.

In my experience PS has always conducted itself in the utmost ethical manner!
I'm on many fora, and nearly all fall far short of PS's ethical standards when it comes to posts about their paid advertisers.

Yes PS is a private for-profit business.
Yes businesses pay to advertise here.
Running a forum isn't free, and PS deserves to profit from their very valuable service.

In summary, IMO the ethical standards of PS are beyond reproach.
 
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Diamond_Hawk

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 8, 2014
Messages
1,169
Hi Brian,
I don't think my intention with this thread (after reading all opinions and thoughtful responses) is to increase the number of people signing up.
I want to help more lurker visitor people in their pursuit of buying a nice diamond and putting it into a great setting.
The elitist idea is that when people are told they MUST only buy a diamond with 56.3 - 57.2% table, 34.3 to 34.7 degree crown blah blah - and it must be supa dupa blood and guts cut etc
That we frighten them off.
Understood,

In the macro, I was pondering ways to increase participation in the forum from lurkers (increased sign-ups). But as you have clarified, but the masses to click and read without being threatened by the technical (and often impassioned) responses is certainly worth a thread of this complexity.

Thanks for the clarification.
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
8,719
Sorry, didn't mean to confuse anyone.

In the case with the search engine, PS only receives dollars if a stone is recommended and the buyer utilizes the link with affiliate ID, correct?
I think there is a misunderstanding there:
They pay for listing the stone and for banner advertising on the forum and website pages.
edit: there is also a hca charge, not sure if that is seperate or rolled into the listing charges.
edit2: soften post from strmish :}
 
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Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
8,719
I agree it seems different here. I've not been censored or banned for speaking my opinions.
What is different is the principles the original owner and founder set for the forum.
No stake in sales other than listing and addvertising.
Give consumers a loud voice and vendors a smaller one.
Stress education.
Change the diamond industry.

When I first came here there were some vendors who thought they ruled things.
Well I kinda challenged that a bit. :} Those that remember those days will say that is an understatement.
The owner and founder supported that because it was his vision.
The rise of the prosumer.
They fired a couple large paying advertisers who could not accept consumer voices.

But the very things that make it unique also make it hard to turn a buck and keep it going.
Which is why they have been looking at ways to raise funds while keeping true to the history of the forum.

And yes for those that dont know Garry owns a small share of PS.
 

prs

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 26, 2017
Messages
887
If lack of financial support from the trade ever becomes a problem for PS, there are other ways to raise money. I'm a participant in two forums (wine collecting and DIY pool care :eek-2:) that are supported by contributions from the participants. The contributions are voluntary and the dollar amount of the contribution is left up to the individual. The only thing that differentiates contributors is they get a nice icon next to their user name when they post. It seems to work very well, with the forum owner sending out annual reminders to participants.
 

annagene12

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
80
So, I think instead of speculating about what newbies want - it may be good to get a newbie's thoughts.

I really value PS for the wealth of knowledge that is exchanged freely here. No user is paid to do it, and it is done because people have a love for it and experience to draw upon that I lack. I do not know very much about diamonds, custom settings, but am enthusiastic about jewelry and found PS when I was helping my fiance narrow down engagement rings. PS seems to have good traction from an SEO perspective and comes up in many searches along with a forum called weddingbees in both keyword and image search. There is opportunity to drive traffic although I am not a digital marketer, it might be worth exploring.

The elitism question is an interesting one...I find many of the comments on PS to not jive with my ideologies but enjoy the range of backgrounds and opinions held. i skip right over the technical posts and didn't post diamonds i was considering - find those posts arduous but doesn't mean they aren't helpful for others. I find the tendency to call diamonds "frozen spit" at all rather myopic, as I think diamonds in all forms are interesting and are minerals that come from the earth - no diamond is more or less entitled to its name than any other. whether they are dull, or colored, crystal clear, or poorly or expertly cut - the very nature of their beauty is that they can showcase purity, (or lack thereof) - craftsmanship of their cutters - marks of their heritage (inclusions) or not, etc. I love how wonderfully adaptable they are to suit such a wide range of proud wearers and how durable they are. I do not believe that anyone can claim what is "objectively the most beautiful" to ALL consumers, but there are trends.

the difference is when a stone is blatantly misrepresented, and with more price transparency consumers can find out easily (thanks to a forum like this) if they've been duped. I personally like all sorts of stones and like wonky cuts and low colors and even *gasp* salt and pepper diamonds. I also appreciate and admire the exquisite, H&A diamonds I have seen grace the fingers of PSers. I also think simulants and the "M word" are also lovely (albeit not for me) and to shun anyone who has an engagement ring who comes to this site with love and joy in their hearts to show off their jewelry - is unfortunate and even cruel...i think the "fashion jewelry" monicker is in danger of reinforcing that perception...so if inclusivity is the goal..maybe consider?

Generally i find posters well meaning and kind though, i can't say i have seen a truly malicious post.

So I can't say I represent the majority of the millennial buyer's market, but I can say (as a millennial) that I saw a lot of interesting trends when shopping for an engagement ring. I am going to make sweeping generalizations based merely on personal observation:

- We are price sensitive (look at the average student loan debt statistics and see why :wall:)
- we like the idea of "independent" jewelers, but want the reassurance of peer reviewed vendors (we are spoiled by Yelp and excellent technology) and so end up with JA and Brilliant Earth bc of the videos, reviews, marketing campaigns, and plethora of images - or we find vendors on instagram
- we are exploring different types of engagement stones (atypical diamonds, non-diamonds, simulants) whether due to economy or ethics (perception of the diamond industry and wedding industrial complex is shaky)
- those that like diamonds, might care more about size & $$ than anything

I work in tech and have some feedback that is echoed in some of the comments, some not, i also realize some of the technical implications of suggestions so take or leave what is useful:

1. I wholeheartedly agree with @sledge regarding an app - would prob increase engagement

2. @yssie's idea about a ranking system - while i don't as a newbie find the idea of quizzes attractive, there are other forums (like city-data.com) where users earn reputation points, so it is easier for newbies to weed out trolls or commenters who really don't know what they are talking about - and true enthusiasts can build a rightfully earned reputation

3. i found it hard to find certain things or to use the platform at all - for example:
a. i wanted to look at bezel settings for design inspo, and other "low colored stones" and found it arduous to dig through thread after thread for images - an image / video library with different cuts, colors, clarities, setting styles, etc. would be really REALLY helpful
b. i had a really hard time finding the board where people sell jewelry
c. some of the posting functionality was tricky

4. a review section would be AWESOME - i searched and searched for experiences PSers had with vendors and found it frustrating - i'd see older posts and experiences referenced but couldn't find the source thread
 
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arkieb1

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
8,761
@annagene12 - thanks for all the constructive comments!!!

Boards where people sell jewellery - wedding bee, Ebay, Loupetroop, DiamondBistro, RubyLane and Etsy are good sites for preloved things too....

A review section is a blessing and a curse, sometimes trolls and people that are so fussy nothing with please them leave negative reviews against vendors, on the flip side some vendors including ones highly praised here deserve negative reviews from time to time, because IMHO no vendor is perfect, and that becomes a pile on of members defending said vendor. One notorious vendor used to appear on here under fake names to try and discredit anyone that posted anything negative about him.
 

Johnbt

Shiny_Rock
Premium
Joined
Mar 13, 2018
Messages
277
There's a RockyTalky sticky for Prosumers.

Would it encourage registration if there were a sticky to guide Visitors on how to ask their first question?

Something along the lines of what have you looked at and where have you been shopping, what's your general budget, how soon do you need it... along with shape, size, color preference(if you know it) and even ring size.

If nothing else, a WELCOME sticky for GUESTS/First Time Posters would announce that they are welcome to register and ask a simple question.
_________________________________________________

The sticky that brought this to mind.

I'm a member of www.bogleheads.com an investment forum named for John Bogle the founder of the Vanguard Group. The general topic is three-fund DIY investing.

The sticky in Personal Investments is Asking Portfolio Questions. It contains the format for presenting your financial situation and how to ask your questions in order to obtain useful advice. This forum also has authors, prosumers, professionals and famous people. :)

I am NOT advocating for this much detail. But it's still interesting to look at. The sticky was posted 2007 and on my laptop it's FIVE PAGES. :)

www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6212

I have to take the dog out now. :)
 

annagene12

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
80
@Johnbt That could be an idea. There are all types of ways to drive engagement and registration. A lot of companies use things like giveaways and discount codes to get people to sign up, although what PS has as its asset is knowledge (or referral privileges for existing members) or if PS had a newsletter with highlighted posts, or “tip of the week” or include “jewel of the week” and other fun ways to engage people to register to get a newsletter. you could have pop ups that when you identify a “lurker” it can prompt them to register or ask “do you need help?” With links or something to helpful sticky posts.

There’s the opposite approach (like paywalls for digital newspapers) where you only get to see a few posts before you have to register. There are pros and cons.

id think about different digital campaign strategies, decide if it’s multi channel or single (are you open to driving traffic with an instagram or email newsletters?) -I’d guess there’s already a great amount of traffic being driven to the forum given the sheer amount of content, and a cohort of very dedicated and passionate members - oftentimes people need more than just passion to stick around and like rewards (it’s called contingency management theory or operant conditioning and it’s so far been proven pretty effective)

I’m just spitballing and don’t mean to derail the thread. Someone with more expertise in digital would probably give much better advice. I know enough to be dangerous and have ideas but definitely unable to execute. PS is a special forum!!!
 
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whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
8,814
@Johnbt That could be an idea. There are all types of ways to drive engagement and registration. A lot of companies use things like giveaways and discount codes to get people to sign up, although what PS has as its asset is knowledge (or referral privileges for existing members) or if PS had a newsletter with highlighted posts, or “tip of the week” or include “jewel of the week” and other fun ways to engage people to register to get a newsletter. you could have pop ups that when you identify a “lurker” it can prompt them to register or ask “do you need help?” With links or something to helpful sticky posts.

There’s the opposite approach (like paywalls for digital newspapers) where you only get to see a few posts before you have to register. There are pros and cons.

id think about different digital campaign strategies, decide if it’s multi channel or single (are you open to driving traffic with an instagram or email newsletters?) -I’d guess there’s already a great amount of traffic being driven to the forum given the sheer amount of content, and a cohort of very dedicated and passionate members - oftentimes people need more than just passion to stick around and like rewards (it’s called contingency management theory or operant conditioning and it’s so far been proven pretty effective)

I’m just spitballing and don’t mean to derail the thread. Someone with more expertise in digital would probably give much better advice. I know enough to be dangerous and have ideas but definitely unable to execute. PS is a special forum!!!
We have an emailed newsletter with all of that...
 

annagene12

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
80
We have an emailed newsletter with all of that...
good to know! I didn't know that as a new user, maybe a prompt / notification could be helpful. but i am not trying to imply that some of these things haven't been considered or executed at all!

agree this could be a separate thread and didn't mean to hijack
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
8,814
good to know! I didn't know that as a new user, maybe a prompt / notification could be helpful. but i am not trying to imply that some of these things haven't been considered or executed at all!

agree this could be a separate thread and didn't mean to hijack
I was letting you know. Maybe check your junk folder? It comes one a week. I’ve been here so long I don’t remember how it came for me to get it.
 

msop04

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 3, 2011
Messages
9,523
Hi! If you do want the newsletter, chose preferences from your username at the top of the page and check your email options.
See pic..
. C7A0496D-B624-4734-9E67-4C7DEF7BFCC0.jpeg

Thanks! :)

Hmmm... I already had those preferences checked. We'll see what happens.
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
6,675
What a charming chap.


Still, good to know that PS is dominating the search engines - might give people some hope of buying a decent stone!

You know, what with that trash HCA tool based on actual science that feedback shows is useful and delivering great stones... lol
 

sledge

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Messages
4,080
On a serious note, the above does not seem exactly uncommon. I've seen other diamond related forums bash on PS.

But then again when I was actively involved in the Apple community, I saw similar things. People tend to gripe about all the broken stuff on forums. So sometimes you have to take it all with a grain of salt.

Remember, you aren't pizza....you can't make everyone happy!
 
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